What is Prison Abolition?


1. the action of abolishing a system, practice, or institution”

It may seem difficult – almost impossible – to imagine a world without prisons. Despite their relatively short existence within human history, prisons have become ingrained in our understanding of justice. It is taken for granted by most that the response to crime is incarceration. Those who call for the end of prisons, the abolition of the prison-industrial-complex, are often called utopian, crazy or worse. Such is the influence of the prison system that to challenge it is seen as absurd.

As abolitionists we want just that – to bring an end to the prison system and reduce the harm caused by the prison-industrial-complex. It is not as easy as simply tearing down the walls and emptying the cages though. Prisons are part of a wider social problem caused by inequality and oppression. Prison abolition involves creating alternatives to the punitive justice system that addresses the root causes of crime and challenging the oppressive forces present in society.

Prison abolition can be seen as both the process of challenging institutional oppression and the long-term goal of dismantling the prison-industrial-complex entirely.

Overtime we will be building abolition-focused content on this website, generated from workshops, conversations and events all around the country dissecting our own experiences, histories of struggle and visions for the future.

You can read a huge variety of texts & resources related to prison abolition here: http://www.prisonabolition.org/why-abolition/resources/